All these “dropbox replacements” are missing the point

So, I’ve been seeing in the tech news about a recent multitude of self-styled “Dropbox replacements”.

And that’s silly.  What nobody seems to understand (or they willing ignore) is the fact that Dropbox isn’t some standalone remote storage thing. It’s not just a place to store files and have them sync across your computers.  They are, to overuse a word, an entire ecosystem, and they’re only expanding their reach.

What do I mean, you ask?

Simple.  Sure, I can store files in Dropbox, and I can store files in the replacements, but it’s accessing those files that’s important, and here Dropbox has everybody beat.

All my favorite cross platform (and that includes desktop/mobile crossplatform) app have Dropbox support built in to them.  That’s not so critical in a desktop app, but it is for mobile.  I can’t just change where a mobile app pulls it’s data from, and this is where Dropbox wins, hands down.  They’ve been around long enough, and are easy enough to work with (for developers) that they’ve achieved some amazing market penetration, and they’re only making their product more attractive for developers and users alike.

That’s what all these “next Dropbox”, “Dropbox done right”, “Dropbox replacement” press releases miss.  They don’t just have to store things better than Dropbox, they have to be so much better that Dropbox that they easily overcome their inertia.

I don’t see that happening soon.

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